Today, I am talking to Ajit Baral, who is a co-founder of FinePrint, a publishing house in Nepal.
An alumnus of the International Writing Program-2011 at the University of Iowa and the International Writer’s Workshop, Hong Kong Baptist University, Ajit Baral is the author of The Lazy Conman and Other Stories, Interviews Across Time and Space, and co-author of By the Way: Travels through Nepal’s Conflict, plus Shaili Pustak, a Nepali style guide. He is the co-editor of an anthology of Nepali short stories in English: New Nepal, New Voices, and the editor of First Love, an anthology of memoirs about first love.
He has contributed articles, book reviews and short prose pieces to national and international magazines and his writings have appeared in journals and book forms. He is also the festival director of the annual international literature festival, Nepal Literature Festival.
SS: You have recently published Dr. Sanduk Ruit’s biography. Could you please share your experience of translating this book in Nepali?
AB: Dr. Sanduk Ruit is Nepal’s most well-known eye surgeon, who has given the gift of sight to over 130,000 people across Asia and Africa using small-incision cataract surgery. We are a big fan of his modesty, philanthropic zeal, and selfless service to humanity. So, when we were offered the right to translate his biography into Nepali, we promptly accepted it. We wanted a really good translator to translate this very well written biography and asked writer Khagendra Sangraula if he would be interested in translating it. Fortunately for us, he agreed. And once we got the translation, we didn’t have to do much to the translation, as he is one of the best English-Nepali translators that we have.
Sanduk Ruit, Author: Ali Gripper, Translator: Khagendra Sangraula, Publisher: FinePrint, ISBN:9789937665735
SS: Please tell us why this book would be interesting to readers?
AB: It is a story of a man who came from the lowest rung of society but went on to become a world-class surgeon. His contribution to the field of Opthalmology and service to the people is unparalleled. It is an inspirational story, which will inspire people to work for the greater common good no matter what your profession is. I think it has to be read by everyone.
SS: Could you please list English publications from FinePrint?
AB: We haven’t published many English titles. That is because there are only a few writers writing in English. And those who write well in English, they prefer to be published internationally. These are the list of English books that we have published:
- Batsyayana and His Barbs, a collection of cartoons, by cartoonist Batsyayana
- Interviews Across Time and Space, a collection of interviews with writers, by Ajit Baral
- Essays on the Sociology of Nepal, an academic book, by Chaitanya Mishra (ISBN 978-99946-2-320-4)
- The Lazy Conman and Other Stories: Folktales from Nepal by Ajit Baral (ISBN, 978-9937-665-46-9)
- Nepal’s Development Tragedy by Bhishambher Pyakurel (ISBN: 978-9937-8789-3-7)
- Self-love, an anthology of comics, by different comics artists (ISBN: 978-9937-665-75-9)
- Beyond the Holy Border by Bhisma Upreti (ISBN: 978-9937-8279-9-7)
- Beed Bytes by Sujeev Shakya
- The Nepalese Peace Process by Birendra Mishra
- Summer Love by Subin Bhattarai (978-9937-8931-5-2)
The Lazy Conman and the other stories: Folktales from Nepal, Publisher: FinePrint, Author: Ajit Baral, ISBN: 9789937665469
SS: Do you have plans for more publications in English for international readers?
AB: Yes, we do. And not just for international readers. Increasingly, more and more Nepalis are reading in English, and we want to cater to this group. The English translation of the Nepali novel Basain is coming out this month. The English translation of a short novella Ular is coming out soon too. So is the English translation of Faatsung, a novel about the Gorkhaland movement in India. We are also actively scouting for books originally written in English. So, one can expect quite a few English titles coming out from FinePrint in the near future.
SS: Your view regarding the marketing of these books internationally?
AB: There is an international market for books written in Nepali, but it is too scattered and the cost of shipping books there is very high. We have to go for e-books if we want to exploit that market. Or, in the case of books originally written in English or translated into English, we have to try to sale their rights to international publishers.
The interview with Ajit Baral was done via email.
Written by Dr Sangita Swechcha
Dr Sangita Swechcha is a Communications Professional, Researcher, and a Fiction writer. She has over 15 years of experience in international communications and media relations. She is a Guest Editor for Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) and coordinating ‘Nepali Literature month’ – November 2019. She is a novelist and a writer who has written a novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’, a joint collection of stories ‘Asahamatika Pailaharu’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’ in Nepali.
Forthcoming in English translations in 2020 in e-book formats first: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’ (looking for international publisher/s for publishing print versions of these books). Her twitter handle: SangyShrestha. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Connect on Facebook.